Maddon Says Darvish, Hamels Will Follow Lester in Texas, Roster Likely Finalized Later Tuesday
Joe Maddon announced Jon Lester as the Opening Day starter three weeks ago, but avoided laying out the rest of the rotation until today. Yu Darvish, who appears fully recovered from his blister despite refusing to pee on it, should take the mound Saturday with Cole Hamels closing out the opening series.
That would mean Kyle Hendricks, who will throw a bullpen in Texas after agreeing to an extension Tuesday, is likely to open against the Braves next week. José Quintana should get the second game in that series, then rinse and repeat.
As for the rest of the roster, the Cubs are still working on making a couple final decisions and informing the players affected by them. Victor Caratini is a shoo-in at this point, with Mark Zagunis penciled in as the final position player. The bullpen, then, is where the real decisions have to be made.
The Cubs released veteran righty Junichi Tazawa last week, but re-signed him to a minor league deal Tuesday. He will remain behind in Mesa for extended spring training and will serve as depth for the inevitable injuries or weak performances. Maddon said Sunday that he preferred to have another lefty in the ‘pen, which means either Randy Rosario or Kyle Ryan getting the nod.
That should spell doom for Allen Webster, a righty who’s out of options. Or maybe the Cubs throw a curveball and keep him around for that reason. Either way, this bullpen is certain to be in a constant state of flux, perhaps even more so than usual, due to injuries and matchups. Fun times.